Most people are concerned that the cancer is likely to be life–threatening. It can take some time for the news of the diagnosis to ‘sink in’. It is common to feel worried or think about it all the time. You may also struggle to take in all the information given to you, and to get clear on making treatment decisions. Even if you’re told you have low–risk prostate cancer, you may be worried about your future. Even after being treated, there may be concerns about whether the cancer may return.
Whether you’re in a relationship or single, you may be worried about the effects that treatments may have on your sex life and future relationships. If you want to have children (e.g. be a donor), you may be worried about infertility. And if you are already in a relationship, you may be worried about the impact of prostate cancer on your partner. Also, some of the treatments may cause worry about body image, and sexual performance with your partner and other sexual partners, which may affect the way you feel about yourself.
‘At the time that I was diagnosed, [having a] social worker or a counsellor who could take me into a different room and talk to me about what I was experiencing just be able to support me would have been very important, which is what my counsellor has ultimately done very well.’
Talking with members of your healthcare team, partner, friends and family can help you deal with these feelings because they may be able to suggest useful ways to manage them.
What should I tell people who are important to me?
Only you can decide when you are ready to tell people who are important to you that you have prostate cancer. As prostate cancer affects the male reproductive system, some men feel shy or uncomfortable about talking about it. Some of the advantages of talking with other people are that they can:
- help you deal with what is happening for you
- talk with you in a way that helps you think through problems or consider different viewpoints
- help you clarify the questions you have and the answers you need
- identify who is available to support you
- help you identify other help, resources or information you may need.
You can read more about ways of coping and living with prostate cancer in one of the booklets in this series: Maintaining wellbeing in gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer.